“Sorry” isn’t enough for the women abused by the National Women’s Soccer League

A game between the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns FC on November 14, 2021.

A game between the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns FC on November 14, 2021.
photo: Amanda Loman/ISI Photos/Getty Images (Getty Images)

For National Women’s Soccer League players who have been abused, harassed or sexually assaulted by their own coaches, the worst could be over publication of a report that found “systemic” abuse and sexual misconduct in the league. Finally, what was considered an “open secret” has come under the international spotlight and criminals at least no longer have the opportunity to exploit their power over players. But that is not the same as justice, and the NWSL’s lukewarm response so far has taken no logical steps to prevent such abuses from continuing in the future.

The investigation, led by former Attorney General Sally Yates and released Monday, was commissioned by the US Football Association last year. the following reporting out the athlete the detailed how the Portland Thorns failed to protect their players sexual advances by former coach Paul Riley. Yates noted that the USSF and NWSL had failed to install proper player protections since the league’s inception, citing non-existent human resources departments, broken reporting structures and even things as basic as lackluster training facilities.

We now know that, as suspected, many of the men and women are responsible for the safety and livelihood of the players knew what happened to you and decided to turn a blind eye.

Arnim Whisler, chairman of the Chicago Red Stars who dismissed concerns from players about the abusive behavior of former coach Rory Dames, a expression On Tuesday he announced he was stepping down, adding that he was “so deeply sorry for what our players have been through”. On the same day, Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson said he would withdraw from decision-making until the results of a simultaneous investigation by the league and the players’ union are released. And on Wednesday, Portland Thorns president of football Gavin Wilkinson and president of business Mike Golub were relieved of their duties. according to to ESPN.

But apologizing doesn’t mean taking ownership or holding an entity accountable. Sorry isn’t “You’re right, we knew it and we didn’t do anything.” The only plausible way forward is to root out the rot, which the Yates report says goes back to youth football. The entire NWSL needs to be revised. That means not just firing figureheads, coaches and general managers, or those most outwardly responsible, but really starting over — with new executive searches to replace everyone who’s seen a misconduct report and been dismissed, or heard an allegation have a trainer but haven’t researched it. If the abuse was structural, then the structure must be demolished and rebuilt. Apologies are nice and promises to “make it better” are good, if vague. But survivors will never receive justice or the assurance of safety until the rules are rewritten from the ground up.

Justice also requires solidarity, which so far has come from the NWSL players’ international counterparts, including an England player who said it bluntly, that is “not a new thing”. But unsurprisingly, there has been a lack of solidarity beyond the players themselves (who are “not doing well”). promotional week contacted 19 brands that sponsor the NWSL and its teams – including the Portland Thorns, Chicago Red Stars, San Diego Wave FC and Racing Louisville FC – to ask how the Yates report has impacted their relationships with the teams. Many of the sponsors said they were “deeply concerned” and “anxiously awaiting any changes” the league might introduce. butadweek wrote that they are “putting the blame back on the league rather than using their influence to pressure the NWSL to change”.

The Yates report seems to have sent a chill down the spine of every NWSL fan and reporter covering the league. There are significant parallels to what Larry Nassar made possible through USA Gymnastics – ignoring reports of wrongdoing, the silence of child abuse victims, the quick relocation of the abuser where he would once again be able to sexually harm victims. But this horrible pattern of events surfaced almost six years ago. It’s hard to bear that we’re having the exact same conversation today, let alone within Another Professional league of women athletes.

After numerous Nassar victims made harrowing testimonies about what he had done to them and how he had ruined their lives, it was Nassar sentenced of sexual abuse of minors who came through the USA Gymnastics program. At the time, there was hope that the structure of women’s sport could actually change – that those responsible could listen to women and use their power to prevent such abuse from happening again. But that’s one of the most chilling things about the Yates report: the number of times these incidents have been reported and then swept under the rug while Nassar’s trial unfolded in public. It is a stark reminder that, while our institutions say they have learned, they are still willing to go to great lengths to protect men in power – to give them second, third, fourth chances; letting her walk out the door a free man, much like Johnny Depp. This has always been bigger than football and even bigger than women’s sport. This widespread abuse is emblematic of all the justice we are a long way from.

https://jezebel.com/nwsl-ussf-yates-report-sorry-isnt-enough-1849614199 “Sorry” isn’t enough for the women abused by the National Women’s Soccer League

Adam Bradshaw

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